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Student demonstrates outstanding understanding and interpretation of all aspects of the criteria.

Student demonstrates excellence in understanding and interpretation of almost all aspects of the criteria with some minor corrections or additions needed.

Student demonstrates very good understanding and interpretation of most aspects of the criteria with some need for additional work, additions or improvement.

Student demonstrates good understanding and interpretation of the criteria to warrant the award of a Pass but requires considerable additional work, additions or improvement.

Student demonstrates an unsatisfactory understanding and interpretation of the criteria and requires major additional work, additions or improvement to achieve a passing grade.

The problem statement

The birth and increase of students seeking to study international for the hunger of knowledge in higher institution of learning have increased significantly due to the globalization pressure requiring the human resource workforce to be able to work in a multi-cultural universal environment (Wu, et al 2015).

Australia has a high number of international students and the number of the students has been in the rise over the current years. Australia has a good reputation in the education system, therefore, attracting higher degree research students from across the globe. Australia has been rated as the most preferred education hub in the world. Research has shown that international students face a significant experience in culture shock, difficulties in learning and trying to fit in the new environment, which has a critical stand on their contentment with their studies abroad.A majority of 88% of students studying abroad from regions like Africa and Asia face difficult in their education due to sociocultural differences in international universities. There is a shown significant difference in slang language used abroad, the cultural practices and generally the problem of fitting in the society.  There is a significant difference in the educational background of the students taking their studies abroad. Most of Africans and Asian students have experienced Socratic and Confucian education system back at home. Therefore, these students find it very hard to cope with the western system of education and culture. The education system back from their homes is based on the transmission of an information system through class tutoring and lecturing and later having a technical exam and assessment which can be commonly referred to a surface approach education system and results to problems when it comes to a team focused education system (Rovai, & Downey 2010).This paper will research the experiences and perceptions of international students using a mixed research approach in six different countries in Australia. This research paper will study the effects of all the sociocultural challenges faced by international students as a subject. Instead of focusing on one aspect like language and different cultural practices. The investigation concluded that the most aspects affecting the grades of the international students are not academic. Instead, there are factors like language, interaction with the community and making friends, different cultural norms, homesickness, and keeping up with the current trends as the significant challenges faced.  A discussion of how the Australian Education sector can support international students was discussed.

Research questions

The addition and inclusion of international students bring diverse multi-cultural practices where the Australian education system policymakers needs to have a global constituency. Students seeking international studies in Australia come from different geographical location ranging from Africa, Asia, UK, and United States. There are different behaviors, values, cultural beliefs, and even different ways of learning. The cultural differences in the universities bring brand new challenges which require proper understanding to deliver global class education to the students studying abroad (Andrade, 2006).

Sociocultural factors are the values, characters, and customs that associate with a particular society. Sociocultural factors can be the daily and accepted practices of a certain society. The cultural aspects of culture are; language, the rule of law, political elements, religious affiliation, technology, attitudes and values, and social organizations. An understanding of the sociocultural factors affecting international students is essential for the educational set up in Australia. Australia has had a raising number of international students due to the workplace practices based higher education system.  This understanding of the sociocultural challenges will help in making Australia the most preferred education destination in the world. Although there is research previously done about the sociocultural challenges facing international students, there has not been many conclusions on the aspect (Li, et al 2010).

A good number of students will experience a significant challenge in communication due to the English language and differences in accents from different parts of the world. Australia has difficult slang language to understand also has different accent. The communication problem will make life difficult to them in making new friends, finding the daily necessities like food and accommodation. Also, the international students will have a great struggle in trying to fit in and meet the rules, laws, and demands of the new international standards of education. The education system of Australia is different from most of the countries around the globe. There is a definite struggle faced by the international students in Australia regarding the pressure of academic performance, sociocultural shock, the unique cultural experience, personal characters and behaviors, the background, and new social interactions (Andrade, 2006).

This research aims to find the specific social-cultural factors that affect international students during their stay in the foreign land. In this research paper, the focus is on international students living in six countries in Australia.

There is a need to understand the sociocultural difficulties facing international students in Australia to make the necessary adjustments and make them feel at home and more comfortable so that they can proper concentrate in their studies and achieve the global education experience required in the job market (Andrade, 2006). There is a need for proper research to understand the challenges facing international students in Australia.

The justification of the study

The main aim of this study is to come up with a solution to the sociocultural challenges facing international students living in Australia. The primary focus of this paper is on the education sector of Australia. The outcome of the study and analysis is based on a period of four years and of students living in six different countries in Australia selected randomly. This research aim at answering the following questions:

  1.    How does culture shock affect the outcome of the education of international students?
  2.    What are the difficulties and challenges that students studying in international countries face while undertaking their studies in Australia?
  3.    How can the experience of these international students provide suggestions to the education sector of Australia?

Previous research shows that sociocultural aspects are not so challenging for it is said ‘‘when you go to Rome behave like Romans’’ there is a minimal study on the socio and cultural elements that affect the daily lives of international students studying in Australia. Researchers have developed hypothesis for studying social cultural challenges facing international students studying abroad but, these researches have only focused on one specific area instead of the whole subject of sociocultural aspects affecting all the international students in Australia. Research by (Andrade, 2006) only focuses on the challenges faced by international students in English speaking countries which is purely a linguistic study. There is a need for research on the significant sociocultural aspects that affect international students at large. The language barrier is not the only sociocultural aspect that affects the international students. Thus, this research will focus on coming up solutions to the challenges affecting the students studying internationally (Summers & Volet, 2008).

All the research questions asked will be answered with a basis to the data collected, the findings of the research and the analysis for the results. The research findings will be a vital source of the solution to the education sector of Australia. The research findings will enhance ways of dealing with culture shock and the aspects affecting international students studying in Australia.  This research will benefit the end users in coming up with a solution to tackle the challenges facing sociocultural challenges of students studying in Australia hence improving the students stay in Australia (Sawir, et al 2008).

The great challenge of not been able to fit in a different cultural system has an impact in the academic performance of the students. International students find it difficult to perform tasks that require social interaction and thus affecting their studies creating social friendships plays a big role in student’s life, the social friendship enables the students in question to fit and feel more comfortable while learning and even interacting with the professors.(Smith & Khawaja, 2011).

Sociocultural factors are the values, characters, and customs that are associated with a particular society. The cultural aspects of society are; language, the rule of law, political aspects, religious affiliation, technology, attitudes and values, and social organizations. These factors are very critical in the daily life and interaction of the students studying abroad. The socio-cultural aspects will affect the results of the students in international countries. There is a significant concern about the factors that may either bring poor or excellent performances to international students. The sociocultural factors affect the student regarding lack of sense of belonging hence affecting their performance (Sawir, et al 2008).

Many authors have studied the effects of language as the central sociocultural aspect affecting international students. The sociocultural challenge is a full field of study and has a lot regarding the factors and the effects each poses to international students. Eight percent of students studying internationally are affected by the sociocultural shock and are not able to perform as expected during their study course. These factors hinder them from enjoying the freedom of belonging and also having fun at the foreign land in the course of their study. An estimate shows that the number of international students in Australia is over half a million, Australia has been the preferred education hub for Asian students, recently there is a significant increase of international students from European countries and Northern America. All these students face similar problems to do with the culture shock, and customs of Australia. Socio-cultural challenges are universal problems which every student face when they are studying in a foreign land (Doyle, et al 2010).

Students can feel very much isolated if they are in an entirely new environment with different surroundings, Australia enjoys a western culture although it is located in the eastern hemisphere. The United States and the United Kingdom students taking their studies in Australia may not feel anything close to isolation, but those international students coming from Africa, Asia, and Europe may suffer from culture shock. International students affected by culture shock may experience withdrawal symptoms, impaired sleeping patterns, loneliness, and homesick (Hendrickson, et al. 2011).   A significant number of international students suffer lack of proper accommodation in the foreign land hence making the situation even worse more than it is initially.

Many international students lack English ass their first language, although, to get an Australian visa one must have qualified the English proficiency test, there is still difficulty in understanding the Australian accent, idioms, abbreviations and different styles of speech. This possess a problem to international students who will have a problem following the professor in class and even interacting with the people in any context (Hendrickson, et al. 2011).

Making new friends can be a difficult task, and the first day in a foreign institution of learning can be traumatizing.  Every country hold different cultures and making a step of adapting to different cultures is still hard, Australian slang language is difficult to understand and may cause the students feel incompetent and in the wrong place (Klenowski, 2009). Homesickness

Everybody will miss home if they are away from home especially when it is miles away and across oceans. International student have the problem of losing home and feel like they are giving up the education to go back to theircountry of origin. It is essential to let the students join associations and clubs with members from their land so that they do feel alone (Kimmel & Volet, 2012).

Hypothesis development

Hypothesis 1    

Ho: Culture shock does not have any effect on the lives of international student.

H1: Culture shock affects the lives of international students.

Hypothesis 2  

Ho: There are no sociocultural challenges faced by international student

H1: There are sociocultural changes faced by international students

Hypothesis 3    

Ho: There is no significant correlation between the sociocultural challenges and the performance of international students.

H1: There is a significant correlation between the sociocultural challenges and the performance of international students.

Hypothesis 4    

Ho: There is no significant difference between students studying locally and international students.

H1: There is a significant difference of students studying locally and those studying internationally.

Hypothesis 5    

Ho: Language Barrier does not affect the life of international students

H1: Language barrier affects the growth of international students.

During research projects, data collection is one of the most crucial aspects to make the research a success. This study will use quantitative research methodology. It is essential to collect data using the right challenges and methods to have wrong data hence wrong analysis and findings. For this research to run, there was primary need to identify the international students from Australia and the samples were taken from the six countries across Australia selected randomly.  Data was collected through several means of talking to the international students, distributing questionnaires and also talking to the head of departments from the universities to find out the challenges that the students report to the office on daily basis.

The target population is over half a million, but a sample population of two hundred students from each country in the six countries represented was taken. There was also inclusion of lecturers and support staff from the sample universities to help with the information they receive from students on daily basis.

The method of sampling for this research is used including students who are in their final years of student and those in the initial years of study. There is also a representation of the students in the middle years of study to enhance uniformity during the research period. The lecturers and the support staff from the six countries in different universities were also contacted to give their view on the students and the challenges they report in their respective schools about cultural and social difficulties. The number of participating countries is six across Australia.

The primary reason of this study is to tell the sociocultural challenges faced by international students. There is an expectation of the adverse effects of the sociocultural factors affecting international students. Therefore, the dependent variable is the effects on the lives and performance of the international students. The independent variable is the sociocultural aspects facing international students (Johnson, 2008). This study will lay more emphasize in the culture shock challenges faced by students who seek higher research degrees in abroad.

The research will be done based on quantitative methodology, and so there will be an analysis of the sociocultural aspects affecting international students. Several test will be conducted to show the effects of the sociocultural aspects on the lives of the students on the six countries participating.

  • Chapter one is the research proposal
  • Section two will illustrate the Australian significant universities hosting international students
  • Chapter three will have the details of the research methodology, previous research done in the area of study, surveys, and data collection methods
  • Chapter four will report on the research findings and the analysis of the study.
  • Chapter five will summarize the significant findings of the study and give adequate recommendations on how to improve the situation.

The estimated budget for this research project is $3800 which will enable the project delivery within the stipulated time ass it is in the Gantt chart

The budget will be in use for the following sections of the research project;

The literature review of the project that involves primarily reviewing other research papers which has been done before and collecting as much information as possible for the area of study (Hendrickson, et al 2011). The literature review will include getting information from books, journals, and online sites which are not free. The cost of the literature review will be a rough estimate of around $800

There will be need to purchase data from secondary sources which has a budget of about $2200 Data analysis has a budget of around $800

Objective

Estimate in figures

Literature review    

$800

Data collection    

$2200

Data analysis  

$800

Total cost estimated    

$3800


Schedule

Task

Time taken

Starting day

Finish day

predecessors

Initial research about sociocultural factors affecting international students

5 days

1

Literature review

7 days

2

Collection of secondary data and stating dependent and independent variables

5 days

2

Contacting the chosen universities in the six countries through phone calls and emails

14 days

Developing conceptual frame work and research methodology

3 days

5,3,4

Revisiting the literature review

4 days

6

Submission of the proposal

0 days

7

Data analysis using statistical tools

30  days

6

Important quantitative data analysis

4 days

9

Final reporting

9 days

10

Final submission

0 days

11


Gantt chart

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Initial research about sociocultural factors affecting international students

Literature review

Collection of secondary data and stating dependent and independent variables

Contacting the chosen universities in the six countries through phone calls and emails

Developing conceptual frame work and research methodology

Revisiting the literature review

Submission of the proposal

Data analysis using statistical tools

Important quantitative data analysis

Final reporting

Final submission

Conclusion

With the increase of pressure for the world to become a global village, the trend of universities admitting international students has been on the rise.  Differences in sociocultural systems is indeed a great challenge and a complicated process to understand. The international students are given a difficult task of coming up with the sociocultural practices as soon as possible to be able to fit well in the host country (Devlin, 2013).

The institutions admitting international students, therefore, have a responsibility of not only concentrating on the administrative and educational functions but also addressing the social-cultural differences faced by the international students. The findings of this study will show the difficulties faced by the international students in Australia and these difficulties require proper research and proper policies to be in place which advocates for inclusivity of all the international students in the host countries (Douglass, & Edelstein 2009).This research will be fundamental in ensuring that all the students have a smooth learning experience in the foreign land and will be able to make learning fun by the end of it all. International students have a responsibility of taking it easy when interacting with new sociocultural people for them to be globally prepared for different cultures later in career life (Doyle, et al 2010).

There is a significant need to have personalized office in each university for international affairs. This office will help students to walk in and share their experiences and be assisted as required. The office needs to have a multicultural officers who are versatile and are able to understand sociocultural practices of different regions in the world. The office established will help students to deal with pressing issues like homesickness, understanding the cultural practices and also, understanding what is morally and socially right in the Australia and the sorroundings.

References

Andrade, M.S. (2006). International students in English-speaking universities: Adjustment factors. Journal of Research in international Education, 5(2), 131-154.

Doyle, S., Gendall, P., Meyer, L. H., Hoek, J., Tait, C., McKenzie, L., & Loorparg, A. (2010).  An investigation of factors associated with student participation in study abroad.     Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 471-490.

Douglass, J. A., & Edelstein, R. (2009). The Global Competition for Talent:

The Rapidly Changing Market for International Students and the Need for a Strategic Approach in the US. Research & Occasional Paper Series. CSHE. 8.09. Center for Studies in Higher Education.

Devlin, M. (2013). Bridging socio-cultural incongruity: Conceptualising the success of students  from low socio-economic status backgrounds in Australian higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(6), 939-949.

Hendrickson, B., Rosen, D., & Aune, R. K. (2011). An analysis of friendship networks, social connectedness, homesickness, and satisfaction levels of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(3), 281-295.

Johnson, E. M. (2008). An investigation into pedagogical challenges facing international tertiary?level students in New Zealand. Higher Education Research & Development, 27(3), 231-243.

Kimmel, K., & Volet, S. (2012). University students’ perceptions of and attitudes towards culturally diverse group work: Does context matter?. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(2), 157-181.

Klenowski, V. (2009). Australian Indigenous students: Addressing equity issues in assessment. Teaching Education, 20(1), 77-93.

Li, G., Chen, W., & Duanmu, J. L. (2010). Determinants of international students’ academic performance: A comparison between Chinese and other international students. Journal of  Studies in International Education, 14(4), 389-405.

Sawir, E., Marginson, S., Deumert, A., Nyland, C., & Ramia, G. (2008).

Loneliness and international students: An Australian study. Journal of studies in international education, 12(2), 148-180.

Smith, R. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of  international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 699-713.

Ryan, J., & Viete, R. (2009). Respectful interactions: Learning with international students in the English-speaking academy. Teaching in Higher education, 14(3), 303-314.

Rovai, A. P., & Downey, J. R. (2010). Why some distance education programs fail while others  succeed in a global environment. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(3), 141-147.

Summers, M., & Volet, S. (2008). Students’ attitudes towards culturally mixed groups on international campuses: impact of participation in diverse and non?diverse groups. Studies in higher education, 33(4), 357-370.

Wu, H. P., Garza, E., & Guzman, N. (2015). International student’s challenge and adjustment to college. Education Research International, 2015.

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